lighthouse & cove

I Trust God’s Heart and His Intentions

lighthouse & cove

I’ve always loved music.

I took many years of piano, including one year of piano improvisation in college, and sang in choirs throughout middle school and in college. My mother taught me how to sing harmony at a very young age, which I seemed to pick up right away and have been harmonizing ever since.

My paternal grandparents were all musical; in fact, my dad’s talented blind father wrote and performed a ballad for the bicentennial celebration of their home-town, Niagara-On-The-Lake (initially “Newark” – the original capital of Canada),  with the “Queen Mother” (mother of Queen Elizabeth II) in attendance.

In my married years, I’ve enjoyed singing in our church Easter choirs and especially on our worship team, with my husband playing guitar in the worship team behind me. My sister married a gifted and trained musician-pastor husband as well, and one of our favorite activities on any vacation times together is to write and record a usually less-than-serious, but really quality song.

Have you ever noticed that music can transport you back in time, either to a particular event or to a time in your life?

Recently I received some “older” Christian music CD’s by groups I listened to regularly as a teenager, and listening to them (cranked up rather loudly in my kitchen, I might add, much to the dismay of my modern, earbud-wearing sons), made me feel like a teenager for a few hours. I could remember most of the lyrics and even the order of the songs, even though I hadn’t heard most of them in over twenty years!

All that is to say that music really moves me.

I find some of my most intimate time with God in the midst of an inspiring worship service or listening to a song in the quiet of my home.

A few weeks ago, this particular song landed in my inbox as part of a devotional reading. I listened to it and was immediately drawn into the music and the meaning. It’s called “Hidden” (by United Pursuit), both a song and a band I had never been exposed to before. Listen to it yourself, here.

The lyrics to the song are straight-forward and challenging, and remind me of truth. (Here they are for those of you who, like me, may have some trouble hearing them.)

You know how sometimes, especially in worship music, but in other songs as well, a particular line or phrase really stands out to you? Well, the line that struck me right away is,

“I trust your heart and your intentions.”

Wow.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time, actually as far back as I can remember. So I’ve been “trusting” God for many, many years. I’ve already written some posts related to trust, as it seems to be a basic element of my life, especially during some recent times of transition and challenge . If you are so inclined, you may read those posts here, here, and here.

I mean, it’s easy to trust God when things are going well. Most of my life has been very good, but like all of us, there have been events and seasons (some longer than others), when trust feels fleeting. When there is pain, loss, transition, confusion, stress or disappointment, those are the times then we have to pull out our “trust with a big T”. That’s when the rubber really meets the road.

Trusting God is an ongoing process. Perhaps you are a long-time Christian like me, a brand new Christian, or someone who is just a little curious about this whole “trusting God” thing. I encourage you to keep investigating and learning, no matter where you fall on the spectrum. God has never been afraid of doubts and questions; I think he prefers it to pretense or simply not taking him seriously. Just read your Bible, and you’ll find that doubt and faltering faith are a normal part of being a human, and can actually help us to grow.

The idea of trusting God’s “heart” and “intentions” is really about believing in his character. We’ve all heard it said (so much so, that it has become somewhat of a cliche), that God is love. One of the most familiar and well-loved verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28, which states,

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

It means that even though God may allow us to go through times of difficulty, pain and uncertainty, all these experiences can be used to help us to grow and be strengthened in our lives. Most of all, because of his character, no matter what, GOD IS FAITHFUL!

As I was listening to and looking through the song lyrics, I noticed that there are several statements that the writer makes about his desire and commitment to God, and several “benefits” or promises of God to us as we put our trust in Him.

My desires and commitments to God:

  • I trust him completely
  • I’m “listening intently”
  • I want to love him more deeply
  • I will lean on his grace
  • He is my vision
  • He is my reason for living
  • I will walk in repentance
  • I will give God the honor, glory and reverence he deserves
  • I will seek him first
  • I want to love God more
  • I humble myself (bow) before him

Well, that’s quite a list, and I find it both challenging and motivating. The above list includes many of the desires of my heart as I purpose to know God more.

Benefits and promises of trusting God:

  • He knew (knows) us and the deep places of our hearts
  • He understands our sorrows and holds our hand
  • God leads us to trust him
  • We are hidden in the safety of his love
  • He will guide us through difficult times
  • His goodness to us is unending
  • He is my vision and reason for living
  • He gives us “sweet assurance”
  • God is a friend to us like no other
  • We are overcome by “the beauty of this perfect love”

These words express just some of God’s promises to us and speak of his unchanging character.

If we want to trust God more, we need to know him. We get to know God better by spending time with him.

My YouVersion verse of the day recently was Psalm 27:4:

“The one thing I ask of the Lord
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.”

I think this captures the essence of getting to know him more. As we spend time with God in prayer, reflection and reading his Word (the Bible), we will come to trust him. We will be able to sing with the song writer, “Now I am hidden – in the safety of your love. I trust your heart and your intentions.”

*****

Good music helps my soul to flourish. I’m looking forward to listening to more of Hidden Pursuit’s inspiring music. If you have been touched by this song, perhaps you will be interested in purchasing it here, or getting this Hidden Pursuit CD for yourself.

There are also options to purchase in MP3 format or individual songs. I hope you have enjoy this song as much as I have, and find encouragement in the music and the words of simple truth.

What is your experience with music? Do you find that inspiring songs can help to lift your spirits and motivate you to grow in a positive way?

*************************

I’ll be sharing “I Trust God’s Heart and His Intentions” with some wonderful bloggers at the following locations. Feel free to visit their sites:

 

3-D Lessons for Life –
Missional Woman –
Missional Women
vinegar, water, spray bottle, essential oil

Simple D-I-Y Natural Wrinkle Releaser

vinegar, water, spray bottle, essential oil

Recently I demonstrated how to easily and cheaply make a simple but versatile vinegar-water spray cleaner.

I also told you that with the addition of just one more ingredient you can make another useful and money-saving household product.

Introducing D-I-Y Natural Wrinkle Releaser!

BEFORE:

wrinkled Champion tee shirt

AFTER:

Champion tee shirt after wrinkle releaser treatmen

I’ve occasionally used store-bought wrinkle releaser spray, but never loved the price tag or the fact that I probably didn’t even know what most of the ingredients were. Since finding this useful recipe on this website, and trying it out on our own clothes, I have not and NEVER WILL BUY COMMERCIAL WRINKLE RELEASER AGAIN!

It is comprised of the same simple ingredients as the vinegar-water spray cleaner with the addition of a few drops of clear essential oil for a pleasing fragrance.

essential oils in circle

All you need for this recipe is:

  1. water (tap water is OK, but if you’re concerned about any stray minerals or other funky stuff in yours, feel free to use distilled or filtered water to be safe),
  2. vinegar (white),
  3. an  empty spray bottle, and
  4. a few drops of clear essential oils (such as peppermint or lavender).

Simply fill your clean spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Then add about 6-8 drops of essential oil for every two cups of liquid. It’s important to note (and I thank Matt & Betsy of DIY Natural for this wise suggestion), that you’ll want to chose an essential oil with a pleasing scent, but also one that is clear, so as not to stain your precious clothing. Peppermint and lavender were suggested, and I’ve tried both. I think that peppermint is my favorite.

To use, simply:

  1. Lightly spray releaser on your wrinkled clothing (hanging on a hanger).
  2. Gently pull and stretch the garment, in order to smooth out wrinkles.
  3. Allow to air dry.
  4. It’s now ready to wear!

I’ve included several “before” and “after” photos for your comparison.

BEFORE:

wrinkled purple tee shirt

AFTER:

purple tee shirt after wrinkle releaser treatment

This is one homemade household product that I have been thrilled with from the first time I tried it. I don’t think I even looked for any more sites for comparison. Not only is it cheap and natural, but quick and easy as well, with a light, pleasant aroma.

BEFORE:

wrinkled grey tee shirt

AFTER:

grey tee shirt after wrinkle realeaser treatment

You may notice a slight vinegar smell along with your essential oil scent. It seems to mostly dissipate after the garment dries. I have not noticed (nor been told by my guys), that there is any noticeable remaining smell when we wear the treated clothes.

BEFORE:

wrinkled collared shirt

AFTER:

collared shirt after wrinkle releaser treatment

I would also note that this works best for “casual” clothes; that being said, it works fairly well on any type of clothing, but if you are looking for a fussy, crisp, smooth surface for a dressier occasion, you may want to resort to ironing. I must admit, I iron as little as possible (which is not very often at all!).

I hope you enjoy this wonderful D-I-Y wrinkle releaser recipe and find it as useful and pleasant as I have.

*****

Please let me know in the comments if you’ve ever tried making your own homemade wrinkle-releaser. Do you use a similar recipe? I’d love to hear how it works for you.

 

 

dark sky with pink over dark water

Do You Ever Feel Like a Complete #momfail ???

 

dark sky with pink over dark water

Hello fellow moms and anyone else who may happen to be interested in reading this post.

If you’re not a mom, perhaps you are reading this post to pass along the information to someone else you know, for a later season in your own life, or just to achieve a better understanding of what moms commonly feel. Either way, you’re welcome here, but for simplicity sake (this is Simply Flourishing Home after all!), I’ll write this post as if I’m talking to mothers. Perhaps it will still be of help to others who read this as well.

Have you ever had a bad day? Of course you have.

But I mean, a REALLY BAD MOM DAY? 

The kind of day where you feel like so many things went badly, and you did not handle anything with grace. You may feel like (or it may have been expressed), that your kids don’t even like you. It may be less personal, and you just feel like everything you’re responsible for as a mom is out of control. We can actually feel like we don’t even deserve to be a mother; that no one else has ever failed as badly as we have; that we are hopelessly behind, inferior, or just a #momfail.

If you answered “yes” or identified with any of these scenarios ….. then you just may be a mom.

Mothering is a hard job. It is both wonderful and frightening, difficult and blessed, complicated and truly joyous, and overwhelming yet hugely rewarding. It is one of the hardest yet one of the ABSOLUTE BEST things I’ve ever chosen to do in my whole life!

We are all in this together. You’re not alone.

Low and behold, about a day ago, I received an email in my inbox, with an offer to view a FREE, three-day video series for moms about this very topic. It’s called, The Truth About #momfail culture, 10 Things You Need to Hear On the Hard Daysand is produced and shared by two successful but real blogging moms, Stephanie Langford (Ultimate Bundles & Spark Home), and Beth Ricci (RedandHoney.com).

Each of the three videos for moms is only about fifteen minutes in length, and I think you will find them real, enjoyable, and most of all, encouraging. I’ve already watched the first two, and am excited to view the last one when it hits my inbox tomorrow.

Best of all, these real “talks” will help you realize that the feeling that you’re failing as a mother simply isn’t true. You may not be perfect, but no matter what age they are right now, you are the perfect mom for your children.

Care to join me in viewing this video series for moms? Grab a hot (or cold) cup of a comforting beverage and sign up here for some #momfailtruth. I think you’ll be glad you did.

***Update: Unfortunately, this encouraging video series for moms has now ended, but if you are interested, follow the same link to the Ultimate Bundles website, where you can check out the awesome bundle deals that are available several times each year. I have purchased one, and if you can afford the low price, it can be an incredible deal for a huge amount of information and help with everything from homemaking to photography. There are several differnt bundles available for a very limited time, at a very low price. You get to download a huge library of ebooks and courses, and to top it all off, they always include some incredible “bonus” items, which in and of themselves, are often worth the purchase price. So if this sounds at all interesting, follow the above link and check it out. ***

turquoise cup of steaming coffee

*****

 

vinegar, water, spray bottle

The Easiest, Cheapest Natural Cleaner You’ll Ever Make

vinegar, water, spray bottle

Have you ever cleaned with vinegar? It’s one of the cheapest yet safest ways to clean that I know of. Not only that, but it’s simple, too.

Vinegar has been used for many years as a cleaning product, and is still widely used today. It is obviously a versatile food product, is a primary ingredient used to preserve food by canning, and can even be used for several health purposes. This page shares many interesting and useful facts about the history and uses of vinegar, while this one nicely summarizes why vinegar’s “acetic quality” makes it an effective, yet safe choice for cleaning.

Today I want to share a super simple “recipe” for a vinegar cleaning solution to use around your home.

You will only need:

  • vinegar (preferably white)
  • water (from the tap is fine), and
  • a spray bottle for storing and application.

vinegar, water spray bottle (up close)

I first heard this simple yet useful tip from my sister. When she came with her family to visit quite a few years ago, she told me how simple and effective (not to mention cheap!), it was to make your own mixture of water and vinegar for cleaning. Then they promptly bought me an empty spray bottle from the dollar store, mixed some up and away we went! I’ve been using it ever since!

Simply fill your spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. That’s all there is to it!

To use it, just spritz and wipe!

vinegar water cleaner and paper towels

I love it because it’s so safe to use, especially on my kitchen counters. There is no concern about dangerous residue to contaminate our food areas.

There is one small issue that some find annoying, although it doesn’t bother me. Not surprisingly, it smells … like vinegar! My husband used to say that it made him want to eat salt & vinegar chips, although I don’t recall him saying that lately (either because he’s gotten used to it, or because there’s no use commenting, as we usually don’t have salt & vinegar flavored chips in the house). So there’s that.

But to me it smells clean, and the scent goes away quickly as it dries.

I use this solution on my kitchen counters most of all, spray it to spot clean the inside of my refrigerator, and squirt a little on small spills on the floor.

One quality I find very useful is that this vinegar spray cuts the strong odor left from cutting onions. After dicing or chopping onions, I spray a little on my hands (then rinse), sometimes on the cutting board (before I put it in the dishwasher, or let it sit a few minutes before hand-washing), and on the kitchen counter where any stray onions have left their odor.

Last, but not least, I use this vinegar-water mixture on fruits and veggies in place of expensive, store-bought fruit and vegetable wash, in order to clean them and to help safely remove pesticides and chemical residues.

This simple cleaning solution can be used in other areas throughout your home, but here’s a brief word of caution to consider when using vinegar to clean around the home.

 

In summary, these are the reasons I recommend making and using this vinegar-water solution:

  1. It’s really cheap! (A gallon or more of vinegar is well under five dollars; you can use a dollar store spray bottle if you wish.)
  2. It’s extremely easy. (Fill with equal parts vinegar and water and you’re done.)
  3. It is effective. (Vinegar cuts grease, kills many germs, and combats odors.)
  4. It is safe to use. (Vinegar is gentle on humans, pets and the environment.)

 

If you wish to learn more about how effective vinegar is for killing household germs, you can read this article, which suggests that it kills many germs, but will not effect certain viruses or bacteria. It also explains that we often “overuse chemicals”, and that very often that is not necessary. It states:

“Rather than concentrating on disinfecting or killing the bugs, we should focus on cleaning with hot soapy water and good old-fashioned elbow grease to physically scrub away organic material.”

This vinegar solution fits the bill.

If you’d like to try making a more pleasant-scented vinegar spray cleaner, here’s an interesting idea from The Yummy Life. I haven’t tried it yet, as it’s a bit of a process, but it seems like a nice alternative to the plain vinegar smell. Let me know how you like it, if you go that route!

So what have you got to lose (except a few cents worth of vinegar and an empty spray bottle)? Why not give vinegar cleaning a try?

For further interest, here are a some other articles that list these, plus many more uses for vinegar:

I hope this gives you a little useful information about cleaning with vinegar and how you can easily make a versatile household cleaning spray. I know that many of you already enjoy this wonderful cleaning tool!

Next time I’ll share how with one additional ingredient you can make another useful household product that I no longer have to purchase.

*****

So tell me, have you used vinegar to clean in your home? Do you find it convenient and effective? Does the smell of vinegar cause you to want to break out the salt & vinegar chips?

 

 

 

 

sunlight in trees by water

What To Do When Your Emotions Are Fickle (10 Steps Towards Feeling Better)

sunlight in trees by water

Boy am I fickle sometimes.

I can ride the high of feeling happy, even to the point of giddiness, then in one fell swoop, sink to an emotional low, bordering even on feelings of depression.

Some of you know what I mean. If you are a woman, a middle-aged person, someone going through a difficult season, a teenager or pre-teen, dealing with too much non-stop responsibility, or one with a personality-type that tends to easily feel “melancholy”…….well, just about anyone…….you may have experienced this tendency too.

dark sky with bright clouds

So what do we do when our emotions are taking us on a roller-coaster ride of grand proportions? Here are some practical tips to help in times of emotional instability.

 

***Please note: If you are struggling beyond what is “normal” or expected in life, or can’t find the strength to even begin to move forward (with true feelings of depression), please visit your doctor or a professional to get the help you need. ***

 

10 Steps For When Your Emotions are Fickle:

1. Go back to what you know to be true.

Even if you’re not feeling it, you know certain things to be true. These facts can be an anchor for your soul. If you are a Christian, read your Bible and ask God to remind you of his promises. Dwell on good, true, positive thoughts.

Bible, journal and tea

Quiet Time

2. Practice gratitude.

Focus on the good. Think about, or better yet, record what you are thankful for. I try to consistently write in my “gratitude journal”, which I started after reading Ann VosKamp’s wonderful book, 1000 Gifts. Begin (or continue), a habit of being thankful for the little things, and life will look much better when viewed through a lens of gratitude.

 

3. Spend some time in peace and quiet.

Find at least a little quiet time. Make some time for yourself with no noise, responsibilities or distractions, even if it’s short or seems impossible. Send yourself to your room, lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes, step outside and breathe, light a candle, take a drive by yourself, go somewhere peaceful and just sit. Take time to listen to your own thoughts. If you pray, be sure to do that, but don’t forget to stop and listen, too.

votive candle

4. Take care of yourself physically.

Don’t deny the reality of how your physical health affects your emotional state! Get some sleep, take time to relax and rest, drink plenty of water, make healthy eating decisions, and/or get some exercise, and you will immediately begin to feel better emotionally. Take care of medical issues. Check with your doctor and/or do some good research, to decide if you need a little “boost” from supplements or natural remedies that are healthy and rarely have negative side effects.

quinoa with cinnamon, maple syrup and banana

cat on exercise mat

5. Don’t carry your burdens alone.

We were not created to live as hermits. We were designed to live and thrive in community, and it’s not a weakness to need to depend on others. Communicate with your family and loved ones about how you’re feeling, talk to a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor, and don’t let embarrassment stop you. Sometimes all we need is to someone to listen; other times a little direction or encouragement from others will make the difference in our emotional state.

*Added note: I’d love to add a brief comment here to suggest that not only do relationships help support healthy emotions, but they can even help to make us more successful in life. According to this interesting article, we would do well to lean on others, rather than insist on independently going it alone . *

6. Take a baby step.

Often, our stress and emotional lows are partially based on feeling overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities, or things we have not accomplished. Whether its organization or cleaning in your home, or something you need to get done for work or another important commitment, just take the next right step for now. You don’t need to accomplish everything at once, but even a little step will help to motivate you and move you in the right direction, giving you the strength to take one more the next time. Remember that you “eat an elephant” one bite at a time.

 

7. Establish boundaries.

I think everyone should read Dr. Henry Cloud’s life-changing book called Boundaries.  It’s a topic we all need to understand and embrace, because boundaries are healthy and necessary for everyone! We need to embrace our own responsibilities, but let go of those that are not our own. Whether it is an emotional boundary or a practical one, don’t be afraid to say “no” or set reasonable limits for yourself and others, and learn to communicate them clearly.

8. Listen to some quality music.

This could have been combined with my next and last point, but I decided that it’s effective and important enough to list separately. Music is powerful, and can help encourage us and lift our spirits. Positive lyrics and peaceful or joyful music can help to change our mood and move us towards a better attitude and choices. Listen to this song, “Where I Am Right Now”, as an example of a good, encouraging song for those who find themselves in hard times.

reflection in water near falls

9. Get out! 

This also can fall into some other categories, but I think is worth mentioning on it’s own. Nature and the outdoors was created for our pleasure. It is unnatural and unhealthy to stay inside all the time and not get outdoors. We need the fresh air and sun (and a natural dose of vitamin D), as well as just to not feel cooped up indoors for too long. Take a long (or even a short) walk, go on a hike, play with your dog, go for a bike ride, or just sit and breathe in the goodness.

10. Do something fun!

While it is important to take serious steps to make yourself feel better and to address important issues in your life, sometimes a little enjoyment can go a long way towards helping you to feel better. Do something you love, express yourself in creativity, read a good book, work on a hobby, watch an enjoyable television show or movie, play a family board or card game, run around with your kids, jump in a lake, have a good cup or tea or coffee, build a snowman, and/or eat ice-cream! (Yes, I know; I just told you to “make healthy eating choices”, but a little splurge once in awhile is OK and necessary, too.)

 

It’s amazing how even doing a little of something you really enjoy can completely change your mood. It’s OK to take a break from life’s responsibilities and hardships and enjoy some good, clean fun!

votive candle

 

 

While it’s natural and normal to feel the ups and downs of fluctuating emotions, there are things we can do to help stabilize our feelings. These tips can help us to move forward in positive ways in our lives and give us strength and motivation to deal with more important issues. Here’s to “smoothing out” our fickle emotions!

*****

Do you struggle with the ups and downs of emotions? What do you do to care for yourself when your emotions are lacking? Do you have any tips to add that you have found helpful?

 

There is no condemnation...Romans 8:1-2

There is NO Condemnation!

There is no condemnation...Romans 8:1-2

Don’t you just love this verse???

This morning I opened up the email to my verse-of-the-day from the Bible App, and read Romans 8:1-2:

 

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

 

This is, in my opinion, one of the most meaningful and powerful verses in the Bible. I think it’s one verse that I can never just read and go by, without it sinking in deep. Maybe that’s because I need this reminder pretty much DAILYgrey-blue sky with moon

Somehow, even though I know God and believe what he says in my head, my heart needs a constant reminder that if I am in Christ, THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION !!!

 

Not some…..

Not just a little…..

Not sometimes…..

 

There is NO condemnation!

blue sky with puffy white clouds and tree tops

No condemnation from others…..

No condemnation from myself…..

No condemnation from a perfect God, who created me and the whole universe, but still loves me…..

There is NO CONDEMNATION!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hear this enough.

blue sky, could, treetops

There is no condemnation for not spending enough time praying or reading my Bible.

There is no condemnation for not speaking to and treating my family in the best possible way at all times.

There is no condemnation when I lose my cool completely.

There is no condemnation because I missed a day of exercise, I’m a little behind on my blogging schedule, and my home is not perfectly cleaned and in order.

There is no condemnation if I spent the day in yoga pants or went out without my make-up.

There is no condemnation if I haven’t found a job yet, or because I don’t love the one I have.

There is no condemnation because I don’t use my time perfectly, am not in perfect physical shape, and sometimes run late.

There is no condemnation because I spent too much money, there are things we haven’t fixed around the house, and my yard needs work.

There is no condemnation for not making healthy eating choices all the time.

There is no condemnation for the piles that clutter my surroundings and my mind, and for the list of responsibilities I have not gotten around to yet.

dark sky with peach-colored clouds and branches

There is no condemnation for the duties I put off out of fear, laziness or feeling overwhelmed.

There is no condemnation for the myriad of criticisms that I feel from others, put upon myself, or falsely believe to be true, but they are in fact lies.

There is no condemnation for the areas in my life that are not OK, but I either haven’t dealt with them yet, or I am in the midst of the long, hard process of changing.

There is no condemnation for the feelings I experience as a normal part of being an imperfect human living in an imperfect world.

There is no condemnation for the raw emotions I feel so strongly when life has hit me hard, I’m grieving a loss, my hormones are out of whack, or I don’t understand the path God is allowing me to travel.

blue sky, bare treetops with evergreen

Do you believe it yet???

 

I am not suggesting that everything we do, say or feel is OK at all times. I am not saying that we should not strive to better ourselves, repent from real sins (no matter how “big” or “little they may seem), and ask God to help us to be more like him. Where there is actual sin in my life, I am to ask for forgiveness and STOP it.

I will continue to learn more and make positive changes, plans and goals, moving intentionally towards a better way of living.

What I AM suggesting…..no, PROCLAIMING…..is that we DON’T HAVE TO LIVE UNDER THE WEIGHT OF CONDEMNATION !!!

sunny tree branches with red buds

God loves us, he offers forgiveness, direction, courage and help. And sometimes we need to enlist the guidance and assistance of others.

But God clearly tells us that there is no condemnation!

forest trees with curvy trunks

Take a look again at the end of the verse:

And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

There is no freedom in the feeling of condemnation.

Whether it comes from others, ourselves, or straight from the father of lies himself (Satan), it’s definitely NOT from God.

gray sky and treetops with pink

His life-giving Holy Spirit has given us power to leave the past behind and live in freedom. We can only flourish in this life when we simply surrender to God, open our hands, and humbly accept his gift to us…..of freedom.

green tufts of grass with snow

*****

Is feeling condemnation a struggle for you, too? Where do your feelings of condemnation most often come from? Do you believe what God is telling us in this verse?

 

 

 

 

bracelet

Interesting D-I-Y Bracelet “Hack”

bracelet

Since one of the purposes of this blog is to help you flourish by simplifying tasks in your life, today I’m coming to you with a quick little trick to help you dress yourselves without help.

Let me explain.

Have you ever had trouble fastening a bracelet onto your wrist without help? I know I have, and I’ll bet you have, too. Unless I’m alone in the house (which is rare), I usually end up calling for help from one of my guys.

Well, here’s a nice little trick that’s been circulating around Facebook and hit my timeline the other day. Watch this video for a great “hack” for fastening a bracelet all by yourself.

bracelet and paper clip

All you need is your bracelet and a paper clip.

I thought this was clever and practical, and immediately shared it…..and got the same reaction from others.

Today when I considered writing a short post about this, I figured I should try it out myself (since I do NOT want to recommend ideas, products, or companies, etc., that I do not personally find beneficial).

I asked my wonderful husband to take a few photos (and then one son, too), as I’ve yet to find a video illustrating how to take photographs while fastening a bracelet onto your wrist. 😉

I will describe briefly what the above video suggests in my photo captions, and how it worked out for me.

bracelet and bent paper clip

First, bend the paper clip so as to “unfold” it.

 

bracelet "hack" with paper clip

Insert one end of the clip into the loop on the (non-fastener) end of your bracelet. Hold the other end with the bent fingers of the same hand, against your palm.

 

bracelet paper-clip hack 2

Carefully wrap the bracelet around your arm …..

 

bracelet paper clip hack 3

(Please ignore the vitamins and salad we were eating in the background.)

 

bracelet paper clip hack 4

…..until you can clip the fastener into the loop.

 

bracelet 3 paper clip hack

I tried three different bracelets with three slightly different fasteners.

 

bracelet clasp

Slide out the paper clip, and voila!

First of all, I must admit it was not at all as easy for me as it was for the “star” of the above video. In fact, my husband chimed in with something like, “Are you sure you want to write a post about this?” (To be fair, he is usually my biggest fan and encourages me greatly; in fact, I’m usually the one to quickly add “reality” to many of his ideas and cause them to deflate.)

But after some trying, I was able to get it to work. I still won’t be making my own video any time soon, but in the end, after attempting this method with three different types of bracelets, I conclude that it does indeed work. I may prefer to call for help if there’s any willing body nearby, but in a pinch, this will do the trick.
two bracelets on arm

 

One tip I will offer that helped this fastening method work for me is to grasp and open the fastener with one hand (preferably your dominant hand, unless you insist on wearing your bracelet on that arm, in which case, you will have a more difficult task), before you proceed to wrap the bracelet (attached to the clip), around your wrist. The difficulty I was struggling with was manipulating the fastener and opening it with only one hand, so this tip solved the problem. 🙂

 

In attempting to copy the bracelet-fastening guru in this video, I came up with the following six observations:

 

  1.  Don’t just believe everything you see or read on Facebook, or social media in general, or the internet for that matter! Try some things for yourself, and/or do your own research. This obviously applies to more serious topics than jewelry-wearing “hacks”, but is true regardless.
  2.  Some ideas may work better for one person than for another. We are all different. You may also need a little practice to get an idea to work for you.
  3.  Don’t feel badly asking for help from those around you. In many cases, I will take asking a family member for help over trying to complete a frustrating task on my own. (I don’t have that much to prove.)
  4.  Consider buying jewelry that’s easy to get on and off without help, such as those bracelets that are constructed with an elastic sort of cord that stretches over your hand. (Or be simple and don’t wear jewelry at all.)
  5. It’s best to do your nails and put on hand lotion before taking close-up photos of your hands (especially if you’re plastering them on a blog).
  6.  The Crawley ladies (on the ever-popular British television series, Downton Abbey), really did have it “maid”! (My Dad would love my pun!) Having your own ladies’ maid would certainly solve a whole lot of these silly problems encountered when attempting to dress yourself.

*****

Are you a “struggle-to-do-this-on-your-own” type gal, or one to call for help, like me? Did anyone else try this tip after seeing the video on Facebook?